An opportunity lost; wisdom gained at Boise Ironman 70.3

Video coverage of Boise Ironman 70.3 on TriCenter

A beautiful race.  That’s how it felt.  Good pacing, lots of fluids, riding comfortably with the world champion and with a large lead to boot.  I almost felt like I was loafing but one couldn’t be leading a race of this caliber and getting away with loafing?  We were well past the half way point of the race.  Negative splitting the bike seemed likely.  Making the turn around and heading with the wind brought on speed with ease of effort and nobody was catching us.  Then, the 1st hot day in Boise for the year threw a one, two punch that landed squarely on my jaw.  I tried to shake it off.  But my opponent was relentless, salt crystals formed all over my skin and even though I was flying with the wind at high speeds, the heat was wilting my stamina.  In hindsight the only thing I could have done, would be to install an air conditioning unit on my bike.

Jumping in the cool water up at Lucky Peak welcomed a reprieve from the day’s heat.  Starting the swim, it became evident that my warm up was not substantial enough.  Taking it too easy had chilled me and I had trouble getting up to speed.  Minimizing the damage, 3 leaders got away and I was pulling the pack.  Not what I wanted to be doing.  Throwing in a few surges to break up the drafting worked well and Craig Alexander and I broke away.  At this point the pace felt pedestrian, but being near the front with a long day ahead is a good governor.  Having a gap behind us meant those guys would have to do more work in the swim.  Coming out of the water in 4th place with such a relaxed effort helped for a quick T1. 


Onto the bike the first few pedal strokes were enough to know it was going to be a good day.  Did I have a chain?  Within the first few miles I had passed the leaders out of the swim and was leading the race.  Something must be said for the blasts of air we bikers affectionately call the wind.   The wind; obstructing forward progress, thick and heavy, throwing your bike this way then that way, forcing white knuckle grips, curse tainted gusts, caused bikers fits and blew them off roads.  But I was OK with it, relax, flow with it and hide from it.  I thought about being underwater and choosing the best streamline possible.  Go ahead, make the race harder. 

There was not too much excitement or any over extending and if I compared my effort to any other races this year; it was less.  I was not alone however; Craig and I exchanged leads many times over the first 35 miles of the bike.  At the turn around 25 miles in I could hardly believe our advantage.  My effort was not fierce, so I assumed we were being hunted down.  But Lieto was still a mile in our rear and then there was a large gap behind him.  Also in our favor was the fact that we now had a long stretch with the wind!   Sailing along with little effort at well over 30 mph was an awesome dichotomy from the howling head wind.


Wow, this is it, having the race that reaches my full potential is in my grasp. 

Have you ever wondered what it feels like when you look the wrong way stepping into a street and get ran over by a bus?  No, you say…ok… well me too; but this is how it felt when I turned onto Gowen Road sailing with the wind around mile 40 of the bike course.  Striking, because this was the easiest part of the bike.  I’m sauntering around on my bike, enjoying my race and WHAM!  The heat says, “Haws ya doin?” in its best gangster, I’m gonna break your legs voice.  I say, “I’m doing fine, leave me alone”.  Still riding in 3rd place with Crowie and Lieto just a breath up the road I begin taking stock of my assets to pay back the Heat Gangster.  To my horror I realize there’s not enough sweat left in me to pay him back…he promptly breaks my legs.

I settle into a leisurely pace that has me thinking a toddler with training wheels might pass me while trying to recover from the damage.  Soft pedaling, taking a few big breathes and getting out of the aero bars does little to alleviate my heat debt.  In the last 15 miles I lost 4 minutes to Crowie….ouch!


Lifeless heading into T2, it was nonetheless surprising and encouraging to be the 6th man there and with Lieto dropping out actually in 5th  position.  Hopeful to find my running legs I entered the transition area to a boisterous Boise crowd.  My wife was near my bike/run exchange and I exclaimed, “Trop Chaud”, French code to Hortense for…holly crap its way too hot and its killing me.

The transition from bike to run did not come with a burst of energy or any sort of recharge.  In fact, it only felt hotter and my mojo seemed to be running out.  Keep going, you’ll work through it.  You just need enough to give it an honest effort.  But my worst fears were becoming a reality.  If I continued on this path, pushing it, forcing it, ignoring the warning signs, I might finish but I would surely need some medical intervention to recover properly.  It broke my heart as I slowed to those first few walking steps.  My first thoughts were of letting down my family and friends.  Being a coach for so many competing today and having my race abruptly conclude struck a dagger in my heart.


Even with the power of hindsight I’m having trouble solving the problem and finishing a strong race.  Mother Nature conspired a perfect scenario for my worst nightmare; train and acclimate with a cool rainy spring then pounce with the first real hot day since Fall 09 for race day.  I’ll have to start taking on salt tablets as soon as I’m on the bike.  Se le vie!  Live and learn. 

To all the finishers and especially the Boise Y TriClub athletes…you guys are marvelous and you should be proud for surviving the race of attrition that was the Boise Ironman 70.3 2010.

Click for Results

 Slowtwitch Article

YMCA Youth Summer *SWIM*BIKE*RUN Camps

Youth TriathlonProgram
Boise Youth Triathlon
Mission: To promote a lifelong passion for activity while focusing on swimming, biking, and running. We look to enhance fitness skills with the larger goal of developing self-esteem, teamwork, goal setting, self-discipline and friendly competition. This Youth Program will be both an introduction to sport for beginners and a challenge for the serious competitor. Experienced coaching with a flair for kids will guide the program. The Youth TriathlonProgram will strive to create a healthy and safe environment for kids to learn, laugh, and grow.
The YMCA is a non-profit organization.
*Financial assistance is available*

About the Camp
The Boise YMCA Youth Triathlon Camp is a non-profit group focused on healthy lifestyles for kids. The age range is 7 – 18 years old. This program will offer swim, bike, and run training with safety, sound mechanics and fun being a major theme. We welcome all abilities. There will be several informal and formal kids’ triathlons throughout the year to race in at the local, regional, and national level.

Camp Benefits
· Structured group workouts for all abilities
· Beginner/Intermediate & Advanced
Training groups
· Gaining lifelong skills for an active lifestyle and love for the outdoors
· Social aspects while playing fun games
· Professional Coaching
· Free T-shirt
· Kids Triathlon on last day

Summer –Swim- Bike -Run Camps
*June 21-25 at the West Y
*July 12-16 at the Downtown Y
*July 26-30 at the Downtown Y
*August 9-13 at the West Y
Monday-Friday 7:45am-12:00pm(be in pool by 8:00am)
$99 for Members and $145 Non-Members
Financial Assistance Available

Specifics for camp:
*Participants should be able to swim 1 lap on own in the pool
*Need suit and goggles
*Need any bike that meets safety standards
*Need a helmet that fits correctly
*Need shoes for running
*Need a water bottle
*Participants remember to bring your own snacks

Schedule for Camp:
1. 7:45am participants arrive and sign in
(lock up bikes and get ready for swim)
2. 8:00am-9:00pm: Pool
3. 9:00am-9:30am change and snack
4. 9:30am-10:30am: Bike
5. 10:30am-11:00am change and snack
6. 11:00am-11:45: Run
7. 11:45am-12:00pm: Camp Review
8. Pick up at Noon
9. **Light day on Wednesday**

Thursday (Transition Clinic)
1. 7:45am participants arrive and sign in (lock up bikes and get ready for swim)
2. Transition Clinic: T1/T2 (practice over and over)
3. Race Day Preparation: course location, distances, age groups, start time, directions etc.
4. 11:45-12:00pm: Camp Review
5. Pick up at Noon

Friday: Race Day
1. Participants arrive at 8:30am
2. Race starts at 9:00am
3. Following Race: Awards

Race Distances:
· Age groups 7-10: Swim 100 yrd, Bike 2 mi., Run 0.5 mi.
· Age groups 11-15: Swim 200 yrd, Bike 4 mi., Run 1 mi.
Register HERE


You can always register at the Front Desk of the YMCA too.

Camel’s Back Duathlon 2010

This hilly 5k trail run followed by a 30k bike with a hard-hitting climb right after the lung busting run culminates with the same 5k run to finish off one of the harder races I partake in all year.  It’s exactly what we train for, testing the resilience of our bodies against demanding situations.  Races like this make the others all the more pleasant.

Inevitably, people take out the first 5k way too fast and I usually get sucked into it.  Mildly scolding myself before the start to ‘pace’ the race had little effect when the gun went off.  A few minutes into the race and several guys were in front of me charging the course like a 100 meter dash.  I patiently waited for the cardiac output of these individuals to be felt in full; but wait…one of these guys is steadily picking up the pace.  Studying his gait; he had sound form, quick feet and ran with confidence and blatant gusto up the climbs.  Being a young high school runner I admired his vigor.  OK, here we go, the race is on.

Nearing the turn-around we set a blistering pace; the ground passing by in a blur.  Forget about pacing, let’s see how fast we can hurl our bodies over land and race.  We came to a short but steep ascent and again the gusto.  He created a good 10 second gap with the attack as we ran steadily down to the finish.  OK, wait a sec, maybe some pacing would be a good idea.  I say that to myself but I don’t think my speed down the hill would have trumped his enough to close the gap. 

We entered T1 and I was determined to make up any lost time here.  However, upon accelerating my Plasma, he was nowhere to be seen.  It was confusing because many of the short course riders (3k, 20, 3k) were also just starting out their bike leg.  Where was this kid and how did he bike so fast too? Then, it dawned on me….Relay.  He was on a relay.  Bugger.

My 16:50 1st 5k was a full minute faster than I had ran it before…thanks for the race Morgan!  I expect to hear about some fast running from you this year. 

I finished the rest of the race with an honest pace but with none of the excitement that encompassed the first 5k. 

It was great to hang out in the park seeing all the athletes challenge themselves.  Many of the people we coach in the Boise Y TriClub had phenomenal races…look out Boise Ironman 70.3 here we come!

Thanks to the YMCA for this event and thank you volunteers for making this possible!

2010 Camel’s Back Duathlon Results

2010 Camel’s Back Photos